Newswise — Rutgers School of Public Health Assistant Dean for Student Services and Alumni Affairs, Michael Vega, has received the 2022 Association of Schools and Programs of Public Health (ASPPH) Student Services Excellence Award.

In his role, Vega oversees advising, student support, career services, student programming, conduct, and alumni relations. Since launching the school’s Office of Student Support Services in 2018, he has unified services across both the school’s Newark and New Brunswick locations.

Importantly, he has amplified outreach to at-risk students by developing practical resources on common issues and stressors that students face, increased student access to scholarships and emergency funding, and provided peer mentorship opportunities to build a stronger community of support.

“Congratulations to Dr. Vega,” said Perry N. Halkitis, dean of the Rutgers School of Public Health. “He is an innovative leader in student services, building an office from the ground up with the voices of students at the center, and developing resources, training, and development opportunities for faculty and staff to be more effective, intentional, and supportive in addressing student needs with an eye on the numerous intersectional identities members of our population hold.”

Prior his work at the Rutgers School of Public Health, Vega served in roles within residence life, disability services, counseling services, financial aid, and Educational Opportunity Programs, which have shaped his professional identity as a strategic student services leader.


Vega holds a PhD in Higher Education Leadership, Management, and Policy as well as a master’s in social work. During his doctoral program, he embraced his identity as the only Latino male in his cohort, focusing his research on the ways in which other Latino men may be more persistent towards college success, specifically evaluating the relationship between their masculinity and their college engagement behaviors and outcomes. His research interests also focus on understanding the ways identity development impacts college outcomes for underrepresented minority students. His experiences as a first-generation college student, LGBTQ+ Latino scholar, and advocate for underrepresented minority groups have been pivotal in framing how he develops opportunities for students to have a safe space to navigate their educational experiences while living and addressing the impact their intersectional identities may have on that experience.   

“I am honored to receive 2022 ASPPH Student Services Excellence Award,” Vega said. “It is a reflection of the commitment, passion, and dedication I have to a career I have come to love so much and the investment I aim to provide to students and emerging public health professionals each day.” 


About the Rutgers School of Public Health

The Rutgers School of Public Health is New Jersey’s only accredited school of public health that seeks to improve health and prevent disease in diverse populations in New Jersey and around the world through educating students to become well-qualified and effective public health leaders, researchers, and practitioners; conducting research to advance public health science and policies; and providing service programs that promote population and individual health. Visit us at and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn to learn how we're "keeping the ‘public’ in public health.” 

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